THE Government is under pressure to address a pay decision handed down to the Australian Defence Force as members have begun to speak up.
Palmer United Party Senator Jacqui Lambie has pledged to block all government legislation in the Senate until a decision to effectively cut wages of Australian Defence Force personnel is reversed and opposition leader Bill Shorten has said that it should be reconsidered.
Why I’m ashamed to be an Australian soldier
Palmer United Party Senator Jacqui Lambie is threatening to cause chaos in the Senate over the decision. Source: News Corp Australia
But more powerful are the revelations coming from defence personnel themselves, who are starting to speak up inspired by a brave soldier who yesterday told news.com.auwhy he was now “ashamed to be an Australian soldier”.
A number of ADF members have now come forward expressing their issues and uncovering other underlying issues in the Australian military.
“A lot of soldiers, sailors and airmen at the moment feel like they don’t have a voice,” one long-serving soldier told news.com.au.
“The news stories seem to be incomplete, the politicians are talking about costs while conveniently saying absolutely nothing about lost benefits.
“The Defence Force Welfare Association who took note of our concerns and who fought on our behalf was completely ignored, leaving us wondering if they have any power at all to affect change on our behalf.”
Australian soldiers have come forward saying they are “ashamed”. Source: Supplied
Along with urging the government to consider adjusting the pay rise of 1.5 per cent, which is below inflation, serving ADF members are also speaking out about cuts to their expense allowances.
“Australia has a very proud tradition of supporting their service men and women. Is it the signs of today’s apathy towards personal sacrifice by a select group of people that we can let the government treat the ADF this way,” a member of the Australian Army wrote.
“I absolutely hate the fact that I have to even mention that I am unhappy with what is being done by us by the very people that put us in harm’s way. It sickens me to the core to think that the leaders of this great country think so little of us.
“Yes, we do get subsidised housing, we’re paid a certain amount each fortnight for our houses but if defence don’t have a house available, we have to go into private rental and pay the rent,” an ex-serviceman said.
“We’ve taken a hit in travel allowances, health care is only for soldiers not partners, we struggle week to week.”
‘All we can afford’: The Prime Minister says the government would like to pay defence per
Prime Minister Tony Abbott says there simply isn’t enough cash to pay our troops any more. Source: News Corp Australia
The three-year pay deal affecting Australia’s 57,000 full-time uniformed personnel and 20,000 reservists was approved by the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal offering ADF members a 1.5 per cent pay rise.
Addressing the pay issue today, Treasurer Joe Hockey said the money simply “isn’t there”, to give Australian military a pay rise higher than the proposed 1.5 per cent.
The decision has prompted outspoken Senator Jacqui Lambie to threaten to vote against all government legislation until the pay deal is overturned, threatening to also vote against her own party.
“It’s got to the point where I just don’t care what Clive Palmer’s position is on this at the moment,” she said.